"The 110th Congress isn’t over. We’re starting our work, and then we’re doing it in a period where the Congress is in recess. I’m calling everybody back." -- John Conyers on DemocracyNow, Aug.14,2008
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers has taken the highly unusual step of calling his committee back from summer recess in order to investigate allegations by Ron Suskind that the Bush administration forged a letter to buttress the links made between Saddam and 9/11, and Saddam and WMD. The congressional Authorization for the Use of Force Against Iraq, the ""War Resolution" which, as far short as it fell of a congressional declaration of war, gave the invasion its constitutional legal cover, and gave Bush the authorization to invade only after he had certified to congress the existence of these two critical links. If Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, and if he did not possess WMD, the war was off.
The Authorization for the Use of Force stipulated:
Sec. 3 (b) Presidential Determination.--
In connection with the exercise of
the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President
shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible,
but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make
available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that--
(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent
with the United States and other countries continuing to take
the necessary actions against international terrorist and
terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations,
or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the
terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
On March 23, 2003, the president certified just that:
-"I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." -George Bush, certification to Congress to authorize the use of force in Iraq, March 23, 2003
"Armed force against Iraq is consistent with...actions against...nations...who...aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11..." are the operative words in that statement without the subordinate clauses.
After the flurry of impeachment articles embodied in HR 1345, read on the House floor on June 9, 2008, Rep. Dennis Kucinich followed up on July 10 with a single article which lasers in on the exact war lies Suskind's alleged forgery has called attention to. Not that the document is needed to show Bush lied. He admitted as much, which in a courtroom is prima facie evidence which supercedes any other.
In a press conference with Tony Blair in Jan. of 2003, Bush said:
[Adam Boulton, Sky News (London):] One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?
THE PRESIDENT: I can't make that claim.
THE PRIME MINISTER: That answers your question.
And on Sept. 18, 2003, on Meet the Press, Bush drove the nail in all the way:
-"No, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th.
Conyers' reconvening of his committee was the result of enormous public pressure, most poignantly that coming from military families wanting to know why their loved ones are dead. Despite the exquisite, shining clockwork political operation now in place at the Executive Branch, working hand in glove with the media spin machine, it's still not that easy to get 4100 Americans killed over lies. Bush knew Americans would not subject their troops to such an uncertain fiasco over 17 violated UN resolutions, or Saddam's brutal but by no means unique human rights record. If we attacked every country which violated UN resolutions, we'd be bombing Tel Aviv.
So Bush lied.
What is needed now is a full-court press by the public, especially those citizens up until now silent, to transform the Suskind investigation into true impeachment hearings. Public pressure, and only public pressure, resulted in the stunning but buried hearings of July 25, 2008. On that day only 17 out of hundreds of citizens from across the country who packed the hallway outside the Judiciary chambers were allowed into the room. As people chanted "Shame!" it was explained by Judiciary staff that the rest of the seats were taken by the media. The joke turned out to be on you, the public. Media packed the room, but not one American newspaper, not one network news station, reported the dramatic six-hour testimony which outlined some of the most serious charges which can be made against a U.S. president.
This country is now learning what many already know: that democracy is not given. It is demanded. Few politicians are interested in your right to freedom from search and seizure without a warrant, or your right to a jury trial even if George Bush thinks you are an "enemy combatant." They already belong to a class of the powerful who will merit special consideration. Some, with good reason, may argue that we already have a two-tier system of justice, for the rich, and for the poor. But like the movie says, you ain't seen nothing yet.
There is nothing partisan about impeachment. Just as politics should stop at the water's edge (except for John McCain, who injected himself into the Georgia crisis in a manner which would have earned Obama a withering barrage,) it stops when the very process by which we govern ourselves is in peril.